University Hall Takeover

1975

After years of disregard by the administration for black student demands (see the Brown timeline and Brown’s Black Student Protest Story), black students protested again in hopes of recieving a written response from the University regarding its commitment to the black community.

On March 14, 1975, students protested Brown’s proposed budget, claiming that it would cut financial aid and student services, and that cutback in faculty hiring would especially impact minorities. As such, a group of minority students formed an informal Coalition to pressure Brown to adopt an alternative budget. They demanded access to all budgetary material, but this request was denied by the administration.

On April 13, the Coalition presented a list of demands to the administration, followed by a strike of 2,956 students the next day, severely decreasing class attendance. Under pressure, the University passed the budget with a few changes, pledging that “no student would be forced to leave because of increased costs.”

11 days later, on April 24th, 40 members of the Third World Coalition took over University Hall and issued new demands listed as A through V, including:

  • “That blacks at Brown be maintained at equal or greater numbers to the current proportion of the United States population that is represented by black people.”

  • “That one or two students be appointed to assist that admission officer in recruiting, and monetary provisions be made available for travel purposes.”

  • “That the autonomy of the Afro-American Studies Department be guaranteed, and that the proposal of the Afro-American Studies be agreed to.”

  • “That in the hiring of black faculty and staff, the University should consult a committee composed of representatives from OUAP and Sankore Society.”

  • “We require that Latino applications for admission be subject to review by a minority admissions committee which will make admission recommendations and will prepare honest, sympathetic counselling for new matriculants.”

  • “That Brown recognize disadvantaged Asian-American students as a minority in this country as well as its responsibility to allow them the same educational opportunities proffered to the members of privileged ethnic and economic groups.”

The occupation lasted 38 and a half hours while supporters marched around University Hall. With the help of the Organization of United African People, the coalition put forth a vote to students, asking them to agree to strike if the administration did not respond to their demands by Thursday at 5:00pm.